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Oblivious Transformation

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"Hey, Kronk, can you top me off, pal?"

Lampwick: What's he think I look like? A jackass?
Pinocchio: You sure do!

The opposite of a Painful Transformation, one that the recipient and/or victim doesn't feel.

Usually done with the transformee transforming in their sleep to wake up to their new form, or the transformee gradually changing over time. Stock phrases include: "Why is everyone taller/smaller?" and "Why are you looking at me like I've got the head of a [animal]?"

Always a result of a Baleful Polymorph or Involuntary Shapeshifting, as a Voluntary Shapeshifter would know when they're transforming themself.



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    Fan Works 
  • At the start of FAITH, Misty doesn't realize she's become a Pikachu until after Ash's Pikachu tells her.
  • In Chapter 9 of The Portal, Alex doesn't realize that he's become a dragon until his friend, who has also been turned into a dragon, tells him to look at his hand.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Bartok the Magnificent Ludmilla barely notices her transformation into a dragon.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Brother Bear: Kenai didn't realize that he had been transformed into a bear until the shaman told him that she couldn't speak bear. This caused him to go check his reflection in the river and then he does a full-body check on himself, ending with him wagging his tail.
    • The Emperor's New Groove: Emperor Kuzco was completely unaware that he was being turned into a llama at Yzma's dinner. When he met Pacha, there was plenty of confusion until Pacha told Kuzco to wiggle his fingers in front of his face. That's when he noticed his hoof instead of his hand.
    • Moana: After Moana saves Maui and recovers his hook (that lets him transform into animals), Maui starts to thank her, but is oblivious to the fact that his transformation malfunctioned and he's talking while having the upper half of a shark.
    • Pinocchio: Lampwick is oblivious about bring turned into a donkey until he starts braying. He then feels the fur and longer ears on his transformed head, and confirms his fears when he looks at his reflection in a mirror.
    • The Princess and the Frog: After Tiana kisses Naveen after he's first transformed and gets turned into a frog herself, she struggles out of her dress, then looks up at him wondering how he got all the way up there. It's not until Tiana sees herself in the mirror that she realized she turned into a frog.
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie doesn't notice that the spell that makes her look like an old woman is gradually weakening over time as her self-confidence increases.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Casper: A Spirited Beginning, it isn't until Casper is thrown off a ghostly train, travels to the nearby city of living people and then unintentionally scares the hell out of everyone until he finally looks down at his feet and realizes that he doesn't have them anymore, leading him to discover that he indeed turned into a ghost.

  • In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck transforms Bottom's head into that of a donkey. Bottom doesn't even notice and scares off his costars in the play when he returns for his next lines.

    Video Games 
  • The beginning of Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy shows Daxter being turned into an ottsel/Precursor after accidently being knocked into a pool of Dark Eco. Apart from a sting, Daxter doesn't notice the change until he sees his hands, tail, and Jak staring at him in confusion.
  • The Scagdead in Resident Evil: Revelations is a former crewman of the Queen Zenobia who underwent a Viral Transformation from the t-Abyss virus. Unlike many of the infected, he's still cognizant, but keeps telling the people attacking him (in self-defense) that he's still human, despite that being very obviously not the case.

  • In El Goonish Shive, this happens multiple times in non-canon NP strips, usually because of someone mucking around with transformation magic on an unsuspecting victim, but an example in the main story was when Tedd went to the game store for a card tournament and until the middle of a match didn't realize that a) the enchantment that had turned his usually-purple hair pink had worn off, with him only figuring it out when someone else mentioned that they thought his hair was a different color and b) it had been replaced instead by one that turned him into a girl. Everyone else not noticing the latter was attributed to a combination of change blindness and Tedd looking pretty girly anyway.

    Web Original 
  • We Are All Pokémon Trainers,
    • When Callum turns into an Oshawott for the first time, he doesn’t notice until Sephy mentions hearing an Oshawott.
    • Dio is completely unaware that he evolved into a Gliscor while asleep after grabbing the Razor Fang Kim dropped in his sleeping bag one night. When Dio wakes up, though, he is still perplexed of it until Sinatra points it out and tells Dio to look at himself, which he did, much to his initial shock. It wasn't until Dio sees his face in front of Kim's mirror that he realized he evolved, much to his sheer joy.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Mutant Gene Complex activation is like this, with the resultant iris change usually being sudden and unnoticed until someone points it out.
    • In Absinthe, Adam has his hair obliviously change color. His mom notices first, then he notices when he looks in the mirror:
      "Adam," Mom exclaimed, jumping and rushing to me. "What's wrong?" Then she blurted out, "Your hair..."
      Just as I was about to climb into the shower, my muscles seemed to turn into rubber and I staggered, barely catching myself before I fell onto the floor. I grabbed the bathroom counter and used it to hold myself up, but then I noticed my reflection in the mirror.
      "My hair," I gasped, staring at myself in blank confusion. My hair was... green.

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, the shapeshifter villain Clayface first discovers his new powers when he involuntarily shapeshifts while looking at a series of pictures, becoming each one in turn. He is completely unaware of this, and probably wouldn't have even noticed it happening if someone else in the room hadn't pointed it out.
  • In the Donkey Kong Country cartoon, one episode involves a device that can switch brains between characters, resulting in a number of characters switching bodies and not realizing it at first. Even after other characters point it out.
  • In The Flintstones episode "Monster Fred," Fred and Dino inadvertently end up the guinea pigs for a mad scientist's device (that in theory is a personality-swapper but instead has a "Freaky Friday" Flip effect on the subjects). Somehow, after the fact, Fred is unable to notice that he is now a dinosaur even when Barney, Wilma, and Betty point it out to him (nor does Dino notice that he's now Fred). The same thing applies when further swaps occur at the climax (including Fred switching with Barney, the men switching with their respective wives, and Dino switching with the mad scientist's assistant).
  • Exaggerated in the Gargoyles episode "The Mirror":
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In the short Duck Amuck, the animator draws Daffy an entirely new body, but Daffy doesn't notice until the animator draws him a mirror.
    • Hyde and Hare ends with Bugs drinking the Hyde formula and becoming a green rabbit monster, and he questions why the people in the park are running away from him.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • In "Chicken Jack", an Evil Sorcerer curses Jack to turn into a chicken. Even though Jack is now much smaller and everyone else notices that he's a chicken, he doesn't realize what he's become until he does a Double Take of his image on a reflective surface.
    • In "Episode XCIX", Jack buys and eats a strange snack from a street vendor. His head (very briefly) transforms and looks like a colorful fish; his friend Ashi stares at his face with confusion, but Jack has no idea why. By the time it wears off, Jack still hadn't noticed anything.
  • In Episode 8 of Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, Dakota doesn't notice she's turning into a mutant until Chris gives her a mirror.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: Jack somehow inflicts this trope on himself multiple times with the Monkey Staff, a Wu that grants the wielder the powers and tail of a monkey, while slowly turning them into one. The first time, Jack only notices the tail and fails to realize the rest of the changes even as Wuya repeatedly points them out. The second time, Chase exploits Jack's obliviousness to the transformation in order to keep him out of Chase's plans. The real kicker is that the entire transformation can be instantly undone if the wielder simply lets go of the staff.
  • Young Justice: Miss Martian unconsciously changes her skin from green to Caucasian and has this pointed out by Black Canary. She freaks out at first because Canary said her skin was "white", and she is actually a White Martian, a subrace that's discriminated against on her homeworld, and she's been hiding this on Earth.


Video Example(s):


Duck Amuck

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Example of:

Main / ObliviousTransformation

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Main / ObliviousTransformation